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Current Affairs 16 August 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Cauvery Water Dispute
  2. Himachal Cloudbursts
  3. Deflation in China: Consumer Price Index Decline in July 2023
  4. Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA)
  5. Reforming Colonial-era Laws: Recent Legislative Developments
  6. Removal of Section 377 of IPC and Its Consequences
  7. Aditya-L1 Mission

Cauvery Water Dispute


Context:

The Tamil Nadu government has approached the Supreme Court, urging immediate intervention to ensure Karnataka’s release of 24,000 cusecs of water from its reservoirs. Additionally, Tamil Nadu seeks the Court’s direction to ensure the release of 36.76 TMC, in accordance with the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s 2007 final award, which was modified by the Supreme Court in 2018. This move reflects Tamil Nadu’s efforts to secure adherence to water-sharing agreements within the Cauvery dispute framework.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Intra-State Relations, Functions & responsibilities of the Union and the States, Issues and challenges of federal structure)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Cauvery River
  2. Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA)
  3. Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC)

About the Cauvery River

  • The Cauvery River (Kaveri), designated as the ‘Dakshina Ganga’ or ‘the Ganga of the South’, flows in a southeasterly direction through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and descends the Eastern Ghats in a series of great falls.
  • Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu the river breaks into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta called the “Garden of Southern India”
  • The Cauvery basin extends over states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Union Territory of Puducherry draining an area of 81 thousand Sq.km.
  • It is bounded by the Western Ghats on the west, by the Eastern Ghats on the east and the south, and by the ridges separating it from the Krishna basin and Pennar basin on the north.
  • The Nilgiris, an offshore of Western ghats, extend Eastwards to the Eastern ghats and divide the basin into two natural and political regions i.e., Karnataka plateau in the North and the Tamil Nadu plateau in the South.
  • Physiographically, the basin can be divided into three parts – the Westen Ghats, the Plateau of Mysore, and the Delta.
  • The delta area is the most fertile tract in the basin. The principal soil types found in the basin are black soils, red soils, laterites, alluvial soils, forest soils, and mixed soils. Red soils occupy large areas in the basin. Alluvial soils are found in the delta areas.
  • It is almost a perennial river with comparatively fewer fluctuations in flow and is very useful for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation because its upper catchment area receives rainfall during summer by the south-west monsoon and the lower catchment area during the winter season by the retreating north-east monsoon.
  • Harangi, Hemavati, Shimsha, and Arkavati are the tributaries on the left bank (north) and Lakshmantirtha, Kabbani, Suvarnavati, Bhavani, Noyil, and Amaravati are the tributaries on the right bank (south).

Cauvery Water Dispute

  • The Cauvery water dispute pertains to a longstanding disagreement over the distribution of water from the Cauvery River among four entities: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Puducherry.
  • The conflict involves determining how the river’s water should be shared for various uses such as irrigation, drinking water, and industry.
Background:
  • The dispute’s origins trace back to 1892 during British rule between Madras Presidency and the Princely state of Mysore.
  • An agreement was reached between Mysore and Madras in 1924, valid for 50 years, which lapsed in 1974.
  • Since 1974, Karnataka began diverting water into new reservoirs without Tamil Nadu’s consent, leading to a dispute after India’s independence.
Formation of Tribunal and Final Award:
  • The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was established in June 1990 under the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.
  • The CWDT’s final award in February 2007 allocated water based on the availability of 740 TMC in a normal year:
    • Tamil Nadu: 419 TMC (demand was 512 TMC)
    • Karnataka: 270 TMC (demand was 465 TMC)
    • Kerala: 30 TMC
    • Puducherry: 7 TMC
    • Reserved 10 TMC for environmental needs and 4 TMC for inevitable sea outflow.
  • The award didn’t provide a detailed formula for water scarcity due to insufficient rains but mentioned proportional reduction of allocated shares.
Subsequent Developments:
  • In 2013, the Central Government notified the order on the Supreme Court’s direction.
  • Tamil Nadu approached the Supreme Court under Article 136 due to Karnataka’s non-compliance with the tribunal’s award.
  • The 2018 Supreme Court judgement declared the Cauvery a national asset and largely upheld the CWDT’s water-sharing arrangements.
  • Under this judgement, Karnataka was to receive 284.75 TMC, Tamil Nadu 404.25 TMC, Kerala 30 TMC, and Puducherry 7 TMC.
  • The Centre established the ‘Cauvery Water Management Authority’ (CWMA) and the ‘Cauvery Water Regulation Committee’ (CWRC) through the ‘Cauvery Water Management Scheme’ to implement the judgement’s decisions in June 2018.

Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA)

  • CWMA has been created as per the Cauvery Management Scheme framed by Centre and approved by Supreme Court.
  • The Cauvery Management Scheme deals with release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
  • It will be implemented by Cauvery Management Authority (CMA).
  • CMA will be sole body to implement CWDT award as modified by Supreme Court.
  • The Central Government will have no say in implementing of the scheme except for issuing administrative advisories to it.
  • The authority will comprise a chairman, a secretary and eight members.
  • Out of the eight members, two will be full time, while two will be part time members from centre’s side. Rest four will be part time members from states.
  • The main mandate of the CMA will be to secure implementation and compliance of the Supreme Court’s order in relation to “storage, apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters”.
  • CMA will also advise the states to take suitable measures to improve water use efficiency.
  • It will do so by promoting use of micro-irrigation, change in cropping patterns, improved farm practices and development of command areas.
  • The CMA will also prepare an annual report covering its activities during the preceding year.

Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC)

  • The Central government constituted the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) as per the provisions in the Kaveri Management Scheme laid down by the Supreme Court.
  • While the CWMA is an umbrella body, the CWRC will monitor water management on a day-to-day basis, including the water level and inflow and outflow of reservoirs in all the basin states.

-Source: The Hindu


Himachal Cloudbursts


Context:

Over 50 people have died within 24 hours in incidents related to heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh. Chief Minister said that along with landslides, reports of cloudbursts have also emerged in the state.

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography (Physical Geography, Climatology, Important Geophysical phenomena), GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Climate Change and its effects), GS-III: Disaster Management

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is a Cloudburst?
  2. Why do cloudbursts happen only in the mountains and hilly areas?
  3. Why does cloudburst cause so many deaths?
  4. Heavy Rains in Himachal and Uttarakhand: Meteorological Causes

What is a Cloudburst?

  • Cloudbursts are sudden and extreme rainfall events over a limited area in a short span of time. There is no universal definition of a cloudburst.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) defines a cloudburst as any event where 100 millimetres of rainfall have fallen in a span of an hour over a region that is 20-30 square kilometres in area. By this definition, 5 cm of rainfall in half an hour would also be classified as a cloudburst.
How do Cloudbursts occur?
  • A cloudburst occurs when moisture-carrying air moves up a hilly terrain, forming a vertical column of clouds known as ‘cumulonimbus’ clouds.
  • Such clouds usually cause rain, thunder and lightning. This upward motion of the clouds is known as an ‘orographic lift’.
  • These unstable clouds cause an intense rainstorm over a small area after becoming heavy enough and locked in the ridges and valleys between the hills.
  • The energy necessary for the cloudburst comes from the upward motion of air. Cloudbursts mostly occur at elevations between 1,000-2,500 metres above sea level.
  • The moisture is usually provided by a low-pressure system (usually associated with cyclonic storms in the ocean) over the Gangetic plains associated with low level winds flowing in from the east.
  • Sometimes winds flowing in from the north west also aid the occurrence of cloudbursts. The many factors that have to come together to make a cloudburst event happen make them highly unlikely.

Why do cloudbursts happen only in the mountains and hilly areas?

  • Cloudbursts do happen in plains as well, but there is a greater probability of them occurring in mountainous zones; it has to do with the terrain.
  • Cloudbursts happen when saturated clouds are unable to produce rain because of the upward movement of very warm current of air.
  • Raindrops, instead of dropping down, are carried upwards by the air current.
  • New drops are formed and existing raindrops gain in size. After a point, the raindrops become too heavy for the cloud to hold on to, and they drop down together in a quick flash.
  • Hilly terrains aid in heated air currents rising vertically upwards, thereby, increasing the probability of a cloudburst situation.
  • In addition, as pointed out earlier, cloudbursts get counted only when they result in largescale destruction of life and property, which happens mainly in mountainous regions.
Why does cloudburst cause so many deaths?
  • The rainfall itself does not result in the death of people, though sometimes, the raindrops are big enough to hurt people in a sustained downpour.
  • It is the consequences of such heavy rain, especially in the hilly terrain, that causes death and destruction.
  • Landslides, flash floods, houses and establishments getting swept away and cave-ins lead to the deaths.
Is the frequency of cloudbursts increasing?
  • There is a paucity of past data on cloudbursts; in addition, since only some of them get counted – only those that result in death and destruction – there is a problem of accuracy as well.
  • But what is very clear is that events of extreme precipitation have been on the rise in the last few decades due to global warming; it is expected, keeping in mind that trend, that cloudburst events might be on the increase as well.
  • Extreme weather events are indeed increasing in the Himalayan region.

Heavy Rains in Himachal and Uttarakhand: Meteorological Causes

The ongoing heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are attributed to the following meteorological factors:

  • Monsoon Trough Interaction: The movement of the monsoon trough northward, coupled with a weak western disturbance, is driving the intense rainfall in these regions.
  • Monsoon Trough Definition: The monsoon trough is a prolonged low-pressure area extending from a “heat low” over Pakistan to the Bay of Bengal region. It is a recurring element of the monsoon pattern as per the India Meteorological Department.
  • Trough’s Current Position: Presently, the monsoon trough lies north of its typical location, situated over the Himalayan foothills.
  • Upcoming Shift: The monsoon trough is expected to gradually shift southward temporarily, leading to decreased rainfall in the hills while intensifying rainfall over east-central India.

-Source: Indian Express


Deflation in China: Consumer Price Index Decline in July 2023


Context:

China’s National Bureau of Statistics has reported a 0.3% year-on-year decline in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July 2023, leading to a state of deflation in the country.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Deflation
  2. Impact of Deflation:
  3. Deflation Causes in China
  4. Impacts of China’s Deflation on India and the Global Economy

Deflation

Deflation is the opposite of Inflation. It refers to a sustained and general decrease in the overall price levels of goods and services in the economy.

  • Consumer Advantage: In a deflationary scenario, consumers can acquire more goods and services for the same monetary amount over time.
  • Factors Behind Deflation: It can stem from reduced consumer demand, excess supply of goods, technological advancements lowering production costs, or stringent monetary policies by central banks.
  • China’s Case: China experiences deflation due to diminished consumer demand and an economic slowdown.

Impact of Deflation:

Positive Aspects:
  • Central Bank Actions: In response to deflation, central banks may decrease interest rates, fostering borrowing and spending. Lower rates can reduce borrowing expenses for individuals and businesses, potentially invigorating economic activity.
  • Encouraging Savings: Deflation can promote saving as money’s value appreciates. This incentivizes saving for the future, contributing to long-term financial stability.
  • Efficiency Drive: Businesses may enhance efficiency to counter deflation, leading to cost reduction, innovation, and increased competitiveness. This can drive productivity growth and long-term economic development.
  • Fixed-Income Benefit: Individuals with fixed-income investments like pensions or annuities can benefit from deflation. The increased value of money provides reliable income sources for retirees.
Negative Aspects:
  • Consumer Behavior Impact: In anticipation of lower prices, consumers postpone purchases, leading to reduced demand, production cuts, and potential layoffs. This initiates an economic downturn cycle.
  • Economic Contraction: This cycle intensifies with decreased business revenue, lower profits, reduced investments, and potential unemployment.
  • Debt Challenge: Deflation amplifies the real burden of debt. Debt value remains steady or increases as prices fall, creating challenges for individuals, businesses, and governments managing debt obligations.
  • Higher Debt Repayment Impact: During deflation, the purchasing power of every dollar spent on debt repayment increases, exacerbating repayment pressures.
  • Varied Effects: The impacts of deflation depend on specific economic circumstances, with effects varying according to each economy’s unique context.

Deflation Causes in China

Zero-Covid Policy Impact:
  • Stringent Measures: China’s economy faced significant challenges due to an assertive Zero-Covid policy, resulting in entire cities being shut down periodically, lasting weeks at a time.
  • Objective: These measures aimed to curb the spread of the coronavirus but had notable economic repercussions.
Slowdown in Property and Banking:
  • Property Sector Impact: The property sector, historically contributing 20-30% of GDP, underwent a marked slowdown. Major developers struggled to manage debts, leaving several projects unfinished.
  • Banking Sector Challenges: China’s banking sector faced issues due to a plethora of non-performing loans. Many loans extended to local government entities faced declines in revenue, exacerbating financial pressure.
Unemployment Pressure:
  • Youth Unemployment: Increasing youth unemployment is a pressing concern. The official jobless rate among individuals aged 16 to 24 stood at 21%, with apprehensions that the actual figure could be significantly higher.
  • Broader Impact: Rising unemployment rates among young workers pose broader socio-economic challenges for China’s economy.

Impacts of China’s Deflation on India and the Global Economy

India:
  • Manufacturing Hub Opportunity: China’s economic slowdown and deflation could potentially lead to reduced investments in their economy. India, by accelerating economic reforms, might emerge as an alternative manufacturing hub for developed economies.
  • Iron Ore Export Impact: China is a major importer of Indian iron ore. Reduced imports due to China’s economic slowdown could negatively affect India’s economy.
Global Impact:
  • Supply Chain Disruptions: Global supply chains intricately tied to China could face disruptions if their export engine falters due to deflation and diminished demand. Industries worldwide, including those in India reliant on Chinese intermediate goods, might be affected.
  • Global Growth: China, as the second-largest economy, significantly influences global growth. A sharp economic decline due to deflation could lead to decreased worldwide demand for goods and services, contributing to a global economic slowdown.
  • Monetary Policy Challenges: Central banks globally may grapple with managing monetary policies in response to China’s deflation. Lower demand and potential disinflation could affect interest rate policies’ effectiveness.
  • Inflation and Interest Rates: Reduced global demand could mitigate inflationary pressures, impacting interest rate policies’ effectiveness and potentially leading to prolonged low interest rates.

-Source: The Hindu


Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA)


Context:

14 States and Union Territories are yet to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education, mandating the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) to avail funds for the next three years, under the Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA).

Relevance:

GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. MoU Significance and State Concerns
  2. Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) Scheme
  3. Objective
  4. Key Features

MoU Significance and State Concerns

Importance of MoU:
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) encompasses planning, execution, and assessment aspects, aligning State initiatives with the National Education Policy (NEP) for enhanced coordination.
  • The scheme fosters flexibility for States/Union Territories (UTs) to customize activities as per their requirements, optimizing resource allocation efficiency.
  • Furthermore, the scheme empowers States to identify priority districts based on metrics such as enrollment rates, gender parity, and the representation of marginalized communities.
State Concerns Raised:
  • Despite the MoU’s provisions, certain State governments have expressed dissatisfaction with its framework, citing unaddressed concerns.
  • The MoU lacks provisions for additional funding required to effectively implement NEP reforms.
  • States bear 40% of the expenses for the PM-USHA, yet the MoU fails to offer clear guidance on funding mechanisms for implementing NEP-related changes.

Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) Scheme

  • The PM-USHA scheme emerged in June 2023 as an evolution of the RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan) scheme in alignment with the National Education Policy.
  • RUSA, which was originally introduced in October 2013, operates as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the purpose of providing strategic funding to higher education institutions across India.
Focus Areas of PM-USHA:
  • Equity, Access, and Inclusion: The scheme aims to promote equity, enhance access, and foster inclusivity within the higher education system.
  • Quality Teaching and Learning: Enhancing the quality of teaching and learning processes is a central objective, ensuring students receive high-standard education.
  • Accreditation Enhancement: The scheme focuses on accrediting institutions that lack accreditation and improving the existing accreditation status of institutions.
  • ICT-based Digital Infrastructure: Modernizing educational infrastructure through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays a significant role.
  • Multidisciplinary Employability: The scheme works towards boosting employability by fostering multidisciplinary approaches to education.

Objective:

  • The primary objectives of the Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme are as follows:
  • Enhance the quality of existing state higher educational institutions, ensuring compliance with prescribed norms, standards, and accreditation as a quality assurance mechanism.
  • Implement governance, academic, and examination reforms in state higher educational institutions.
  • Establish connections between school education, the job market, and higher education institutions to encourage self-reliance and contribute to building an Atma-Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).
  • Foster a conducive environment for research and innovation in higher educational institutions.

Key Features:

  • MERU Transformation: The scheme supports 35 accredited state universities by providing each with Rs 100 crore to facilitate multidisciplinary education and research.
  • Model Degree Colleges: Provisions are made for establishing new model degree colleges under the scheme.
  • University Enhancement: Grants are allocated to strengthen universities, enhancing their overall capabilities.
  • Focus on Remote and Aspirational Areas: PM-USHA particularly targets regions with limited access to education, Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas, aspirational districts, and regions with low Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER).
  • Gender Inclusion and Equity Support: The scheme assists state governments in promoting gender inclusion, equity, and skill upgrading for improved employability through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

-Source: The Hindu


Reforming Colonial-era Laws: Recent Legislative Developments


Context:

Recently, the Union Home Minister introduced three bills in the Lok Sabha that aim to repeal and replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act, which were enacted during the British rule in India.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. Key Features of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita Bill, 2023
  3. Key Features of the Bhartiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023
  4. Key Features of the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023

Details

  • The Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita Bill, 2023, which will replace the IPC, 1860
  • The Bhartiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, which will replace the CrPC, 1898
  • The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023, which will replace the Evidence Act, 1872

Key Features of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita Bill, 2023

  • Comprehensive Definition of Offenses: The bill consolidates offenses such as terrorism, separatism, armed rebellion against the government, and challenging the nation’s sovereignty under a single legal framework.
  • Repeal of Sedition Offense: The bill abolishes the offense of sedition, which was criticized for suppressing free speech and dissenting voices. This move aims to uphold freedom of expression.
  • Capital Punishment for Mob Lynching: The bill introduces capital punishment as the maximum sentence for mob lynching, addressing a growing menace that has posed threats to social harmony and security.
  • Punishment for Deceptive Sexual Relations: The bill proposes a 10-year imprisonment term for engaging in sexual intercourse with women under false promises of marriage. This addresses deceptive practices leading to exploitation.
  • Introduction of Community Service: The bill introduces community service as a mode of punishment for certain crimes. This approach not only penalizes offenders but also aids in their reform and reduces prison overcrowding.
  • Timely Charge Sheet Filing: The bill establishes a maximum 180-day period for filing charge sheets, streamlining the trial process and preventing undue delays, thus expediting the judicial system.

Key Features of the Bhartiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023

  • Technology Integration in Legal Proceedings: The bill advocates the use of technology for trials, appeals, and deposition recording, permitting video-conferencing for legal proceedings, which enhances efficiency and accessibility.
  • Mandatory Video Recording of Survivor Statements: The bill mandates the compulsory video-recording of statements from survivors of sexual violence. This measure safeguards evidence, prevents coercion, and manipulations, ensuring justice.
  • Timely Status Update by Police: Police must provide information about the status of a complaint within 90 days. This enhances transparency, accountability, and keeps complainants informed about their cases.
  • Amendment to Section 41A of CrPC: Section 41A of the CrPC is renumbered as Section 35, and additional safeguards are added. Arrests for offenses punishable by less than 3 years or individuals over 60 years require approval from a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) rank officer.
  • Victim Consultation in Case Withdrawal: Police must consult the victim before withdrawing a case punishable by seven years or more. This ensures that justice is upheld and not compromised.
  • In-Absentia Trials for Fugitives: The bill permits trials and sentencing of absconding criminals in absentia. This discourages fugitives from evading justice.
  • Electronic Records as Evidence: Magistrates are empowered to consider offenses based on electronic records such as emails, SMSs, WhatsApp messages, facilitating evidence collection and verification.
  • Mercy Petition Timeframes: Mercy petitions in death sentence cases must be submitted within 30 days to the Governor and 60 days to the President. Appeals against the President’s decision are not permissible in any court.

Key Features of the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023

  • Definition of Electronic Evidence: The bill defines electronic evidence as any information generated or transmitted by a device or system capable of storage or retrieval through any means.
  • Criteria for Admissibility: The bill establishes specific criteria for admitting electronic evidence, emphasizing authenticity, integrity, reliability, and other factors. This safeguards against manipulation and misuse of digital data.
  • Special Provisions for DNA Evidence: The bill outlines distinct provisions for the admissibility of DNA evidence, including considerations of consent, chain of custody, and more. This enhances the accuracy and credibility of biological evidence.
  • Recognition of Expert Opinion: The bill acknowledges expert opinions, such as medical assessments or handwriting analysis, as valid forms of evidence. This supports the establishment of relevant facts or circumstances in a case.
  • Presumption of Innocence: The bill introduces the presumption of innocence as a fundamental principle within the criminal justice system. This principle dictates that every accused person is deemed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

-Source: Indian Express


Removal of Section 377 of IPC and Its Consequences


Context:

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) 2023, the proposed replacement for the Indian Penal Code (IPC), does not contain IPC Section 377 (or an equivalent section), which was read down by the Supreme Court in 2018.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Section 377 of the IPC:
  2. Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Bill, 2023: Impact on Rape Laws
  3. Conclusion

Section 377 of the IPC:

  • Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) outlines the following provision:
    • “Anyone who voluntarily engages in unnatural sexual intercourse with a man, woman, or animal, contrary to the natural order, shall face imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term up to ten years, along with a potential fine.”
  • The explanation to this provision emphasizes that penetration is adequate for constituting the required carnal intercourse for the offense.
Historical Perspective:
  • Over the years, advocates for LGBTQ rights and various communities argued that Section 377 was prejudiced and offered legal cover for the mistreatment and intimidation of same-sex couples.
Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India Case (2018):
  • In September 2018, the Supreme Court’s five-judge bench unanimously decriminalized consensual sexual activity between adults, regardless of their gender, and partially invalidated Section 377.
  • The court characterized the portions of the section that criminalized consensual unnatural sex as “irrational, indefensible, and manifestly arbitrary.”
  • It acknowledged Section 377’s misuse as a tool for discriminating against LGBTQ community members and subjecting them to harassment.
  • The court clarified that the ruling pertained exclusively to consensual acts among adults and maintained that other aspects related to unnatural sex with animals and children remained enforceable.

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Bill, 2023: Impact on Rape Laws

  • The IPC Section 377, which extended protection against rape to non-minor males, is absent in the proposed BNS Bill.
  • In the IPC, Section 375 outlines rape and defines seven consent criteria for identifying rape by a man. The BNS Bill includes rape under Section 63.
Consequences and Criticisms:
  • Critics express concerns that the current form of the BNS Bill might lead to the loss of legal safeguards for certain groups, including male victims of sexual assault.
  • This apprehension arises from the proposed BNS’s gendered definition of “rape,” limiting it to acts committed by a man against a woman.
  • After the 2018 ‘Navtej Johar’ Supreme Court verdict, which touched on consent and created ambiguities, calls were made for guidance in scenarios where consent was withdrawn, as in cases of gay partners.
  • India’s existing laws on sexual assault do not recognize men as potential rape victims.

Conclusion:

  • The proposed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, does not account for safeguarding male victims of sexual assault.
  • While the IPC currently protects “man, woman, or animal” against such violence, the BNS’s present version could jeopardize the legal protection afforded to men.

-Source: Indian Express


Aditya-L1 Mission


Context:

India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1, has recently reached the spaceport in Sriharikota.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Aditya-L1
  2. What is Lagrange Point 1?

About Aditya-L1

  • Aditya-L1 is India’s first solar mission to study the Sun designed and to be built in collaboration between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and various Indian research institutes.
  • It is planned to be launched on the PSLV-C56 and it is now planned to be a comprehensive solar and space environment observatory to be placed at the Lagrangian point L1.
  • The Aditya-L1 mission will be inserted in a halo orbit around the L1 point, which is about 1.5 million km from Earth.
  • Aditya-L1 will be able to provide observations of Sun’s photosphere, chromosphere and corona.
  • Aditya L1 will be ISRO’s 2nd space-based astronomy mission after AstroSat, which was launched in 2015.
Objectives of Aditya-1
  • One of the major unsolved issues in the field of solar physics is that the upper atmosphere of the Sun is 1,000,000 K (1,000,000 °C) hot whereas the lower atmosphere is just 6,000 K (5,730 °C).
  • In addition, it is not understood how exactly the Sun’s radiation affects the dynamics of the Earth’s atmosphere on shorter as well as on longer time scale.
  • The mission will obtain near simultaneous images of the different layers of the Sun’s atmosphere, which reveal the ways in which the energy may be channeled and transferred from one layer to another.
  • Thus, the Aditya-L1 mission will enable a comprehensive understanding of the dynamical processes of the Sun and address some of the outstanding problems in solar physics and heliophysics.

What is Lagrange Point 1?

  • Lagrange Points, named after Italian-French mathematician Josephy-Louis Lagrange, are positions in space where the gravitational forces of a two-body system (like the Sun and the Earth) produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion.
  • L1 refers to Lagrangian/Lagrange Point 1, one of 5 points in the orbital plane of the Earth-Sun system – which is about 1.5 million km from Earth, or about 1/100th of the way to the Sun.
  • A Satellite placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/ eclipses.
  • The L1 point is home to the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Satellite (SOHO), an international collaboration project of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

-Source: Times of India


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